Of late, “the life sciences industry has been undergoing a material change in its business model,” notes Whitehead. The expiring drug patents, evolving global regulatory pressures, evolution of personal medicine and increasing pressure on prices are bringing about a paradigm shift in the market where companies are trying to achieve significant cost reductions. As an effect, “they are trying to simplify and rationalize their globally distributed disparate IT environments, to ensure that the interactions with HCPs are complaint,” he comments.
This compliance requirement has grown with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and consequently, IT organizations and compliance groups within pharmaceutical and life sciences companies now have to rapidly take action to make sure that interactions with HCPs are indeed compliant and that they can report transfer of value—a requirement of local, state and Federal government regulations. However, the existing systems do not readily facilitate such seamless interactions and companies are being driven to spend heavily on rationalizing them. Being a part of the same life sciences industry, AHM is now leveraging the Salesforce1™ Platform to deliver a global enterprise solution for the management of HCP interactions to ensure that companies are compliant and effective with their customers. “Our solution allows companies to integrate HCP interactions on a single platform and reduce the number of disparate solutions, from four or five, down to one,” states Whitehead.
With about 500 global associates, AHM’s solutions are currently being utilized to manage HCP interactions across 90 countries. And over the course of its 14 years in business, AHM has developed a significant amount of intellectual property and industry knowledge around how to make these interactions effective and compliant. “We have taken our subject matter expertise and translated it into functionally rich, agile solutions for companies to manage interactions with HCPs,” says Whitehead. He and his team have configured the Salesforce1 Platform to create industry-best practices from their collective knowledge as a starting point, empowering companies to rapidly deploy effective solutions. The flexibility of the Salesforce1 Platform gives AHM the ability to further configure solutions depending on the customer’s requirements. The confluence of these two aspects paves the way for AHM’s CentrisDirect™ platform—the company’s core compliance offering that forms the basis of the other business applications they bring to the table.
CentrisDirect is an end-to-end platform to collect and consolidate all HCP transfer of value interactions across the enterprise. “It enables proactive compliance at time of interaction,” adds Whitehead. The platform offers a new solution option with tangible operational efficiencies to AHM’s customer base which today consists of several top 20 life sciences companies. For one large pharmaceutical company, AHM manages HCP interactions on a global scale, while handling the logistics and financial payments as well. “We have essentially become a trusted advisor for many life sciences companies as they manage their compliance challenges, notably, corporate integrity agreements and audit processes,” states Whitehead. AHM has dealt with customers that have products in most of the therapeutic categories in the pharmaceutical market, all the way from a few pharmaceutical sales representatives to big companies.
Whitehead realizes that compliance is just one part of the equation and, effectively managing different types of consulting and meeting events is equally important. AHM’s CentrisEvents™ leverages the CentrisDirect compliance platform and is offered as an Industry Best Practices configuration to address the speaker bureau interaction needs of the life sciences industry. It features robust capabilities like a speaker database, program calendar, event management, budgeting and reporting. To round off its solution portfolio, AHM also provides a number of business process outsourcing services to pharmaceutical companies in three key areas, “logistics management for meetings and events; compliance services to ensure that the interactions are compliant; and financial services for compliant HCP payments and effective budget management,”says Whitehead.
For the most part when companies interact with HCPs in speaker programs, they tend to have one particular requirement— an HCP resource portal. “They want a portal that will enable the key opinion leaders and speakers to manage their work in a comprehensive manner,” comments Whitehead. Heeding this need, AHM developed CentrisConnect™, a single customer centric portal from where HCPs can view and manage all the information and actions relating to their engagement with a life sciences company. CentrisConnect—another one of the modules in the company’s Centris portfolio, all of which are now available on the Salesforce1 Platform— is a next generation version of its HCP portal solution that AHM has been providing to its clients for many years, making it a frontrunner in this space. “CentrisConnect allows HCPs to engage with pharmaceutical companies and manage the logistics related to participation in events,” informs Whitehead. In today’s scenario where ensuring compliance is paramount and pharmaceutical companies increasingly require audit trails of interactions and transfer of value, AHM’s portals come as a welcome tool. The robustness of the CentrisDirect platform, in combination with AHM’s singular focus on the life sciences industry gives the company a clear competitive edge.
What’s in Store for the Future?
As technology continuous to evolve at a startling pace, AHM is intent on leveraging the latest of technologies to maintain its competitive advantage. “Not disregarding cloud and Big Data, the most influential and engaging technology for us has been Mobility,” remarks Whitehead. Since a vast majority of the CentrisDirect platform users who plan events and interactions with physicians are field-based, the company has developed a “fantastic” mobile application, specifically to cater to them. This intuitive and flexible application combines the rich functionality of CentrisDirect with the power of mobility. This capability delivers significant benefits to customers in the field by making the entire planning and interactions with HCPs, including the compliance components, all the more seamless by providing instant access.
Our solution allows companies to integrate HCP interactions on a single platform and reduce the number of disparate solutions, from four or five, to one
Looking beyond the horizon, Whitehead sees AHM’s core focus to remain around compliance. This is primarily driven by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and similar regulations across global markets, which emphasizes the monitoring and tracking of how life sciences companies interact with HCPs and transfer value to them. Moreover, “pharmaceutical companies are increasingly taking measures to improve their transparency and show the public that they are acting in a complaint manner,” observes Whitehead. Apart from taking the CentrisDirect enterprise platform to all the corners of the world, the recently announced Salesforce Analytics Cloud has opened up new doors for AHM. With management of HCP interactions, audit trails and the analysis around the transfer of value to physicians set to become a global requirement, the amount of data that is going to be collected will be nothing short of colossal. And so, “the ability to perform analytics against that data is soon to become critical,” Whitehead notes. In the not so distant future, expect to see AHM looking for opportunities to enter into the data analytics arena to compliment their existing offerings and cementing their position in the marketplace.